Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Oklahoma City Barons

Texas Stars
32-20-4-4, 72 pts
#3 West Division
v.Oklahoma City Barons
31-21-2-5, 61 pts
#7 West Division
February 27th at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Stars finally return home after their season long 8 game road trip. While today's game says it is at home on the schedule, it will certainly feel like a road game, with Texas only getting a few hours to stop in and sleep in their own beds before heading back out for more hockey. It will come in handy for them that Oklahoma City is a team that they have been dominant over in the season series, winning six of seven.

The Barons have had a precipitous fall from the top of the division. While still in playoff contention, as is most of the West, the Barons are at the bottom of the pack as opposed to the top. With their 5-0 loss to Houston last night and Chicago's win over Peoria, the Barons are now slotted into 7th place in the Division, but just three back of the Stars, who are in third.

Ace goaltender Marin Gerber has been recalled to Edmonton, leaving Jeff Deslaurier and Bryan Pitton to backstop the Barons. In the season series, both have played but neither has won. Each has a GAA of approximately 3 in the series. Meanwhile for Texas, Richard Bachman has yet to accrue a loss against OKC, going 6-0 with a 1.69 GAA and .943 SV%. I would expect him in net this afternoon.

In terms of standings, this is an important game for both teams. While OKC's standing may say seven, they are 4th by points percentage and into the playoffs. Still perception is worth something both in the league and in the locker room, so the Barons will be searching to erase that 7 and move up the board. The Stars have, meanwhile, have now lost three straight games. Earning points in the last two helps to keep them afloat in the standings. If Texas had not taken the "loser point" in the last two games, they would have dropped out of the top four in the West in terms of points percentage.

Stars injury/call up report:
Larsen, Morin, Krahn (lower body)
Vincour (callup)

Website: okcbarons.com
Blog (unofficial): NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Oil Field Hockey
Twitter: @OKCBaronsHockey

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